If you have a learner’s permit, you need to be covered under an insurance policy. In many cases, a person learning to drive does not need to apply for a car insurance policy on his or her own. Whether you need to buy an individual policy will depend on your age and your personal situation.
Teen Drivers Living at Home
Teen drivers who are living at home are usually covered under their parents’ car insurance. If the parent does not have car insurance, the teen would not have coverage. The car insurance follows the vehicle, and since a person with a learner’s permit would be operating the vehicle under the supervision of a licensed driver, the parents’ existing policy would provide protection.
The teen driver would not necessarily need to be added to the parents’ car insurance policy until he or she gets a full license. When a teen gets a learners’ permit, the parent can contact the car insurance company to find out when the teen should be added to the policy. Keep in mind that even if the young person is not expecting to drive the car on a regular basis, having access to the vehicle means that coverage needs to be put in place.
Living with a Spouse or Significant Other
A person who is married or living with a partner or a roommate who gets a learners’ permit may be covered under that person’s policy. Depending on the state where the new driver lives, he or she may need to be added to the insurance policy immediately. In other jurisdictions, the individual with the learners’ permit doesn’t need to be added until he or she is fully licensed.
Living on Your Own
A person who is living independently and decides to get a drivers’ license is in a different situation than someone who is living with or is a dependent of someone who has car insurance coverage in place. They can’t get added to an existing customer’s car insurance policy, so they must try to arrange coverage themselves.
Some car insurance companies will offer coverage to a person who is not fully licensed, but that person may need to pay more for the privilege of being covered. Not all insurance companies offer this type of coverage and trying to find one may take some time.
Getting a learners’ permit is an exciting time in a person’s life, no matter how old they are. For insurance coverage purposes, the best time to learn how to drive may be while living at home with parents who have coverage in place. The new driver can be added to the policy easily. When discussing the teen driver with the insurance company, the parents can ask about available discounts for students. Some insurers will offer a lower rate to young people who can maintain good grades, so having a B average or better can help to save some money on the cost of coverage. When the student goes away to university and is only home during school breaks to drive the vehicle, the insurance company may offer a lower rate as well.
The person who is living independently and wants to get car insurance will have the most challenges. It may take some time to find an insurer who will issue a policy to a person who doesn’t have a license. When buying car insurance, shopping around for coverage is the way to get the best possible combination of rates and level of protection needed.
Experienced drivers should consider whether they are getting the best deal for their car insurance coverage as well. Making changes to the policy, such as adding a new driver, is a good time to get quotes from several insurers to see whether there is a better deal available. Looking at other options should start a few months before the policy is up for renewal so that the change to a new insurer, if one is chosen, is seamless. The last thing the vehicle owner wants is a lapse in coverage.
You do need to have some type of car insurance coverage in place once you get a learner’s permit. Depending on the state, the new driver may be covered under an existing policy. If not, the new person can be added relatively quickly. To find out how much you would pay for coverage by adding a new person or buying a first policy, click on the free insurance quote tool on this page.